Think you might be pregnant? Don't panic. Breathe and read...

You won't need to rush to make the right decision

Could I be pregnant?

  • If you've had sex, or if sperm has got near your vagina, it's possible.
  • Once women start making eggs (ovulating) they can get pregnant.
  • This can happen even before you start your periods. Girls younger than 10 have got pregnant.
  • You can't get pregnant through giving your boyfriend oral sex (a blow job).
  • See the pregnancy factfile for more.
  • Remember: Up to three days after sex, you can use emergency contraception to stop yourself getting pregnant, although it's not something to rely on. See your GP, in confidence.

How do I know if I'm pregnant?

Missing a period is the most obvious sign but there may be others, like sickness, needing to wee more often, tender breasts, unusual vaginal discharge, tiredness or a metallic taste in your mouth.

You can't tell straight away if a sperm has fertilised an egg - it may take up to a week after sex for fertilisation to happen, and usually another week or so before your period may become late.

What should I do if I think I might be pregnant?

Get tested right away. It's best to have a pregnancy test done by your GP or at a sexual health centre, because it's free, confidential and expert staff are on hand to give you advice.

You could buy a home-testing kit. These are usually very accurate and available from chemists and large supermarkets for a few quid. Read all the instructions and follow them carefully.

If the result is positive see your GP, whatever you plan to do. If the result is negative and you're relieved - see your GP to discuss contraception.

What if I am pregnant?

Tell someone. If you can possibly tell your parents or carers, then do. You might be surprised at how understanding they are - even if they're shocked at first.

Always tell your GP who'll keep it totally confidential. GPs are only allowed to break confidentiality if they think you are in danger.

The sooner you tell someone, the more options you'll have for your next move and the easier it will be to think them through. You won't need to rush to make the right decision.

If you are pregnant then the options you need to consider are: having an abortion, adoption, fostering, or becoming a mother. Get expert advice before making any big decisions.

Pregnancy myths busted

I can't get pregnant on my period/the first time I have sex/if I wash afterwards/if he pulls out before he has an orgasm. Oh yes you can. And people do.

I have had 'accidents' before and never got pregnant, so I don't need contraception. You've been Lucky (capital L). Take no chances.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.

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